Ben Delicious writes from Athens: Inspectors of the so-called ‘troika’ – that’s ‘trio’ in Russian, in case you’re baffled – consisting of representatives of the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund have descended on the five-star hotels in the Greek capital again, looking all stern and serious, talking in fancy lingo and putting forward suggestions that Soviet communists would have been proud of. For example, introducing a six day working week while keeping a cap on wages. All in the interest of getting the Greek economy growing again.
The fuss at the moment is all about Greece getting another instalment of the bail-out package, graciously set up by the EU and the IMF, and seeing to it that banks from Germany, France, Britain and Spain get their interest payments on time. The amount on the table is more than 31 billion euros this time. That’s a lot of money, but before Greece gets any of it Athens is expected to present a programme of more budget cuts. 11.6 billion euros of cuts to be exact. Otherwise, say inspectors of the ‘troika’ there’d be no deal. (They are bluffing, of course, because if Greece doesn’t receive the money the European banks won’t get their interest payments and, as a result, things will get pretty nasty.)
The main problem with the ‘troika’s’ efforts to resolve the Greek debt crisis is that they’re not really about helping Greece out but all about saving the banks that are exposed to the Greek debt while making sure that Greece stays in the euro. Yes, sure, it doesn’t make any sense, but tell me when was the last time the EU did something that made sense? And since when did the IMF do anything sensible?
The most bizarre thing about the Greek debt crisis is that the EU officials keep banging on about the Greeks getting accustomed to a life of luxury and excessive salaries and pensions, as if it were not the corrupt politicians and dodgy bankers who created all the mess in the first place. And it gets weirder: everyone knows that should Greece leave the euro, it would be able to start sorting out its problems, but the EU mandarins are not allowing this to happen. The view in posh offices in Brussels is that if Greece leaves the single currency and is seen to be benefitting from it then other countries might get the wrong idea and start thinking about departure. And that would undermine the whole federal Europe project and at some point the house of cards that is called the EU may simply fall apart.
So what do the unelected EU bureaucrats do? They actually talk about more integration in the Union, even though this integration is now stifling all attempts to sort out the crisis. It’s like having a house on fire but saying that pouring water over the flames would not help.
The charade surrounding the Eurozone debt crisis that we are witnessing is also intended to cover up the fact that the whole banking system in Europe is corrupt and incompetent and is simply not fit for purpose. Until speculators and lenders are allowed to do whatever they want and banks get as much taxpayers cash as they desire when they gamble money away on the markets and need to cover up the black holes the chaos will continue. Of course, having a single currency helps to protect the money men, but this craziness cannot last forever.
The way the EU is handling the Greek debt crisis and the mess in the Eurozone generally is a good example of how the whole rotten federal project is damaging Europe. Time to dismantle the monster that the EU has become.